Peter Chiarelli is the General Manager of the Edmonton Oilers and many of the players who were here before he arrived are (for the most part) on borrowed time. We talked about ‘Chiarelli’s men‘ the other day and they include the seven players he brought in (Talbot, Reinhart, Gryba, Sekera, Letestu, Korpikoski, Nilsson) plus Connor McDavid and the other draft picks (Jones, Bear, Marino, Svoboda and Paigin). There’s also the ‘keeper group’ (my guess is Hall, Nuge, Eberle, Draisaitl, Pouliot, Klefbom, Fayne, Nurse) and a few bubbling under contracts who have shown value like Laurent Brossoit, Bogdan Yakimov, Greg Chase and Anton Slepyshev.
Is there a group of outcasts? Players extremely unlikely to be here in a year? My guess, is yes.
- G Cam Talbot (No. 1, bona fide with an explanation)
- G Ben Scrivens (He’ll need to prove himself in a big way)
- G Anders Nilsson (New G, adds to competition, pushes Scrivens)
- G Laurent Brossoit (AHL starter could be future No. 1)
- G Eetu Laurikainen (A great damn bet, we don’t know much yet)
- D Andrej Sekera (A cornerstone addition to a defense that must improve)
- D Mark Fayne (A big part of next year’s team, he’ll face tough opposition)
- D Oscar Klefbom (The first electric blue through the door in simply ages)
- D Justin Schultz (newly qualified, he has a lot to prove this year)
- D Nikita Nikitin (I’m not sure he makes through THIS summer)
- D Eric Gryba (Third pairing addition, he can play defense)
- D Andrew Ference (Erosion looks nearly complete)
- D Brandon Davidson (Waiver eligible, may not be room)
- D Griffin Reinhart (A strong TC could mean some expensive waiver options)
- D Darnell Nurse (He’s a bubble D now, I’m betting he puts it all to rest at TC)
- D Brad Hunt (Last chance Texaco? Or a new beginning?)
- D David Musil (Reinhart’s addition may make Musil’s presence moot)
- D Jordan Oesterle (He could flourish under McLellan)
- D Dillon Simpson (Still working, suspect he gets full entry-level deal)
- D Martin Gernat (In the worst spot of any roster player. Prospect orphan)
- D Ben Betker (He has a nice combination of skills)
- D Joey Laleggia (His skills are somewhat unique, could blossom in Bakersfield)
- C Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Fantastic player, love the Nuge)
- C Connor McDavid (Franchise)
- C Anton Lander (Very important season in his career)
- C Mark Letestu (Strong option at C, he can play other positions)
- C Leon Draisaitl (Willing to play the wing, and that could get him to the NHL in the fall)
- C Bogdan Yakimov (Can’t wait for McLellan and Chiarelli to see the earth mover)
- C Jujhar Khaira (Big man needs to show offense or could be gone)
- C Kyle Platzer (New pro has two-way skills)
- L Taylor Hall (Impact player could go super nova)
- L Benoit Pouliot (Vital to the club’s overall look. Big, strong, good)
- L Lauri Korpikoski (Fast winger with experience, two-way skills. Mentor)
- L Matt Hendricks (May see minutes on skill line)
- L Luke Gazdic (McLellan uses this player type)
- L Ryan Hamilton (Chiarelli may prefer his own AHL mentor)
- L Anton Slepyshev (Big opportunity, coach has no memory of any of the bubbling under)
- L Mitch Moroz (McLellan will be impressed with size/speed combination)
- L Kale Kessy (If that speed spike last year was no fluke, he’ll be a factor)
- R Jordan Eberle (They need two more like him)
- R Nail Yakupov (He’s still here! Now, where to put him?)
- R Teddy Purcell (In this case, LACK of speed kills)
- R Rob Klinkhammer (Effective 4R, doesn’t bring enough offense though)
- R Tyler Pitlick (Newly qualified, needs to stay healthy)
- R Iiro Pakarinen (He should be working out like a bandit, with TC impact his goal)
- R Andrew Miller (He’s in a nice spot on this roster: Inexpensive and skilled)
- R Greg Chase (Guaranteed to get noticed early and often. Has the potential to surprise)
That’s a baker’s dozen who should be viewing this season as a vital one in terms of their Oilers’ future. I wouldn’t be surprised to see two or three of those names (Gernat, Nikitin) to be taken care off/playing in Europe this fall.
- The Black Book: He’s a strong, smooth skater with good lateral movement and ability to rush the puck up ice. His gap control is underrated and he has a very good stick. He’s a possession defender than can carry the puck, hold on to it and keep opposing forwards to the perimeter.
- ISS: Good two-way defender who shows upside in all situations and a work ethic to improve his game.
- Future Consderations: Marino is a mobile, offensive-minded defenseman. In any of the three zones, he loves the puck on his stick. In his own zone, he likes to rush the puck and while he moves well, he is more effective passing the puck up the ice as he sees the ice well and hits his teammates in stride.
I was impressed with Marino’s overall game from the orientation camp:
- D John Marino: Showed some nice flashes offensively, good speed and a nice shot. Got involved physically, too. You could see his age being a slight issue, but overall a nice job. Source
SPOTLIGHT ON ANDREW MILLER
If we look at that RW depth chart above, there’s no spot for Miller. Eberle will take the lion’s share of the skill minutes, with Purcell and Yakupov fighting over the rest. Klinkhammer, Pitlick and Pakarinen are in the mop up roles (well one of them) and Miller is down the road in Bakersfield (after clearing waivers, and that may not happen).
There is a significant ‘other side of the coin’ here and the Oilers may look at Miller as a substantial option. He’s not a big man, but is smart, skilled and has speed. The Oilers will be looking for complementary players who can flourish with their impact forwards, and they’ll also be looking for value contracts (Miller’s deal is for $630,000) that help with the cap. He has become an attractive option and when Peter Chiarelli and Todd McLellan are evaluating who to keep at the end of TC, Miller’s ability to replace (say) a Teddy Purcell while also being $4M cheaper is going to be a significant positive. It may cost Rob Klinkhammer his job.
Corey Pronman: The 24 year old center is a classic small, skilled college player. Miller displays above-average qualities in terms of his speed, puck skills and overall offensive instincts. In his Senior season especially he showed the ability to consistently create scoring chances and keep the play flowing in the right direction.
He is now a 26 year old winger and has a real chance at the NHL. I think he’ll see both Bakersfield and Edmonton and he could get plucked on waivers.